|It's Howard Lovecraft Day! Our own comic book reviewer, Ryan Porter, sinks his teeth into the upcoming Graphic novel from Arcana by Bruce Brown and Renzo Podesta. How does our intrepid reviewer rate "Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom"? Is it a tome for the ages or a story better left untold?|
What if the works of famous author Howard Lovecraft were not simply the result of his imagination? What if all the works of Howard Lovecraft were instead inspired by actual events? That’s the premise behind Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, written by Bruce Brown and illustrated by Renzo Podesta.
The young Howard spends Christmas Eve visiting his father in the sanitarium. While there, his father warns him about a mysterious book. The book, he tells Howard, is evil and must be destroyed. Howard ignores his father's warning and is quickly engrossed with the mysterious book. As Howard reads, a rift is opened that pulls him into a strange new world.
Bruce Brown has created a wonderful, engaging children’s story set in ‘the Mythos’, or the world of H.P. Lovecraft. The two elements blend together seemingly without effort. Howard is constantly surrounded by the dark creatures and disturbing characters that make up the Mythos, but never loses his sense of adventure and curiosity. Brown’s ability to capture the curiosity and trust associated with childhood is inspired. Howard eagerly accepts every challenge presented to him throughout the story and seems completely at home despite his surroundings. Howard’s bravery and optimism fuels the story and serves as the light in the dark world surrounding him.
The art by Renzo Podesta fits the writing perfectly. Just as Howard is written as the light in the dark, he is also drawn that way. Howard’s cartoon-like design is contrasted against engaging splash pages and kinetic action panels, creating a dynamic balance. Impressively kid friendly, yet dark and moody enough for a story told within the Mythos of Lovecraft.
The real fun of this book is seeing young Howard go through these events and imagining that this is what would inspire Howard as an adult and as an author. Brown’s admiration of Lovecraft and the Mythos is on display throughout the book, featuring appearances and references to a variety of Lovecraft creations. Fans of the Mythos will certainly enjoy this unique look into the works of Lovecraft. And new readers, especially children, will find a fun and engaging fantasy in the tradition of The Wizard of Oz and Where the Wild Things Are. Bruce Brown has created a wonderful story that fans of Lovecraft, and their children, are sure to enjoy.